Making Safety a Priority on All Shifts

March 14th, 2019


Your business operates 24 hours a day. You can’t oversee it all that time (although you try). Additional shifts mean additional profits. Unfortunately, they also mean additional complications.

Take safety, for instance. Maintaining safety standards across your second and third shifts can pose a significant challenge.

Non-traditional shifts are often more difficult to control directly. You need to delegate much of the moment-to-moment decision-making to shift supervisor. This can lead to some variations in policies from one shift to another.

However, there are ways to keep safety a consistent priority across all shifts, even if you can’t personally supervise them day to day.

Standardized Protocols

Don’t let individual shifts determine their own safety procedures. No matter when they work, employees should follow the same procedures.

Create centrally produced safety procedures. If a shift requires different protocols for some reason (working at night, for instance), recognize that in the overall rules. Make sure all shift managers work from the same playbook and safety will remain a priority throughout the company.

Consistent Training

Many of the details of how to perform a job are learned in an informal way. Follow the lead of the experienced workers and do what they do.

That’s fine for most aspects of a job. But it can cause problems for safety matters. Corner cutting and alterations from accepted procedures lead to potential long-term problems.

For that reason, make sure safety issues are handled in a standardized, formal way. Everyone should get the same instruction, and training should be as comprehensive and detailed as possible.

Ongoing Refresher Courses

Training shouldn’t be a one-time thing. Even the most conscientious employees can use a refresher. They can forget things, or steps can get skipped enough times that they slip out of habit. An occasional retraining effort can help get day-to-day back to the stated ideal.

Meanwhile, training protocols can change over time. Periodic retraining sessions give you the opportunity to keep veteran workers up-to-date on the latest standards.

System of Communication

Managers of different shifts often work independently of each other. It can lead to a “right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing” situation. Do as much as possible to prevent this.

Install a method of communication between the supervisors of the various shifts. Conduct periodic meetings, or at least a conference call with everyone. If this isn’t possible, or for more immediate concerns, keep everyone in the loop using methods as simple as an email or text chain. Or you can create a more formal process of memos.

Whatever the method, the key is to make sure everyone has the same information and changes can spread through the company as effectively as possible.

Regular Reviews

Check in on your various shifts periodically. Make sure they are following the same procedures and all protocols are in place.

By scheduling regular reviews, you can avoid any resentment from your shift supervisors. By making it routine, it becomes a regular event in the course of business, rather than critique of anyone’s oversight or a symptom of micromanagement.

You stay informed, everyone stays safe and your managers keep the confidence they need to lead the team effectively.

Having careful and concerned workers helps make safety a priority, whatever the situation. Using a strong staffing partner, like SmartTalent, ensures you have this kind of staff. Contact SmartTalent today to find out what we can do to improve your safety profile.

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